The Roundup will be brought to you in July and August by the new Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN), an international membership organization for interdisciplinary work and family academics. The WFRN welcomes the participation of policy makers and practitioners as it seeks to promote knowledge and understanding of work and family issues among the community of global stakeholders. The Roundup is a compilation of the latest news articles, reports and other materials related to workplace flexibility delivered to your inbox on Monday and Thursday. In the fall, the WFRN will launch its new website which will include a News Feed among other features. We hope that you will get involved as a member and by posting the latest news. Questions?

March 25, 2011


Jobs Key to Residents’ Satisfaction With Their Communities

Steve Crabtree • Gallup • March 25, 2011

“The presence of good jobs means more residents have opportunities to actively contribute to the vitality of their communities, whether through the taxes they pay or the services they provide. It also means residents are less likely to turn to street crime out of desperation, or to move away from the area in search of opportunities elsewhere. So when it comes to boosting residents’ satisfaction with their communities, promoting business development and job growth may not be the only consideration—but it is a natural place to start.”

Court of Appeals reinstates Milwaukee Sick pay law

Georgia Pabst • Journal Sentinel • March 24, 2011

“While supporters of Milwaukee’s paid sick day ordinance cheered a Court of Appeals decision Thursday that upheld the law more than two years after it was passed, business leaders denounced the measure, saying it will kill jobs and thwart economic development in the city.  And both sides vowed to continue the fight. […] So while about 50 supporters of the paid sick day ordinance celebrated the court victory with a rally at City Hall, they said they will now prepare for the battle that moves to the Assembly in Madison, where legislation is pending that would nullify the city’s paid sick days law.”

Women in the Work Force: Critical Issues

Susan Page, Guest Host • Diane Rehm Show • March 24, 2011

“American women have made significant strides in the workplace. But they still lag behind men in pay and advancement. Those issues are at the heart of a job discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart. Next week the U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on aspects of the case, which could affect more than a million women. In the next hour, we’ll talk with three women - a lawyer, an economist and a journalist - each with a different generation’s perspective on gender equality in employment.”

Federal Reserve survey: Wealth declined for most households during recession

Ylan Q. Mui • Washington Post • March 24, 2011

“The consequence of the widespread erosion of wealth is a more cautious consumer, the Fed said. Even families who had no great changes in their financial situation reported that they wanted to boost their savings to buffer against tough times. Households were also less willing to take on risk and expected to work longer, according to the survey. At least 25 percent of people employed full time said they expected to postpone retirement by two years.”

Early Career Scholars

• Work and Family Researchers Network •

“The Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN) is seeking applicants for its 2011-2012 Early Career Scholars Program.  The goal of the Early Career Work and Family Scholars Program is to provide supports for recent doctoral recipients in order to advance their research, teaching, and long-term career prospects. By offering networked resources and consultation, the initiative will help promising young scholars move into tenured appointments and secure senior level positions, as well as engage them with the work-family community of scholars. […] The deadline for submission of applications is July 31, 2011.”


CBO’s Labor Force Projections Through 2021 [PDF]

• Congressional Budget Office •

“The reasons for the decline in women’s rate of participation in the labor force since 2000 are not entirely clear.  Early in the decade, the decline was fairly broad-based, but it was particularly pronounced among highly educated women, those who were married to high-earning men, and those who were mothers of small children.  The explanations advanced for the change include increased household wealth and shifting preferences toward higher fertility and toward caring for one’s own children instead of placing them with child care providers.”

States Lead the Way: Paid Family Leave in California [PDF]

Lauren Damme • New America Foundation •

“American voters, both Democrat and Republican, overwhelmingly support paid leave benefits, including paid parental leave, paid sick days, and more generally, expanding the FMLA to provide paid family and medical leave.  Perhaps in response to voter preferences, states have started to address the limitations of the FMLA protections with their own legislation.  A number of states have built upon the FMLA by creating broader coverage, and a few have formed their own paid family and disability leave insurance programs.” 


“Building on the message and momentum of the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility, the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau is conducting a National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility to provide employers and employees, leaders, and experts from various sectors a chance to share their ideas and strategies for making the workplace more flexible for American workers and families. In addition, our event will focus on promoting workplace flexibility in a specific industry – the Hospitality, Restaurant, and Tourism Industry.”


Stressed Out? Slack Off

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • March 25, 2011

“Are slackers more adept at handling work-life stress than type-A go-getters?  A new study finds that may be the case. Those who cope with work-family conflict by becoming busier and looking for more resources to solve problems – type-A multitaskers — actually experience more stress and strain, says the study in the Journal of Applied Psychology.  The researchers studied 193 people who were all combining work and college studies with family duties.”

This is what economic hara-kiri looks like

Patrick McIlheran • Journal Sentinel - Right On • March 24, 2011

“Mind you, the sick-leave ordinance really is a terrible idea. Sure, the backers’ superficial appeal—aw, give mommies of sick kids a break!—makes sense, for about 10 seconds. Though as was amply documented, there are lots of industries that work out time off for sick employees in other, mutually agreeable ways. Restaurants, for instance, tend to swap shifts, which means customers get served and the place stays in business. Construction companies tend to work out more flexible arrangements. None of this would be allowed under Milwaukee’s brainless, one-template-only rule.”

Baby Boomers and the Labor Force

Phil Izzo • Wall Street Journal - Real Time Economics • March 22, 2011

“Retiring Baby Boomers are expected to leave the labor force over the next decade, but they may also be working later in life.  The Congressional Budget Office released a report today, projecting labor force participation through 2021. Labor force participation peaked in the late 1990s at around 67% as Baby Boomers reached peak working age and the entrance of women into the work force plateaued. It have been dropping since, with the decline exacerbated substantially by the recession as people dropped out of the labor force.”

Make Flexibility Real “Turducken” – Policy Within Process, Within Strategy

Cali Williams Yost • Fast Company - Expert Blog • March 22, 2011

“Yes, that’s right. Flex strategy ‘turducken.’ What? Here’s the backstory:  It all started during a team discussion about the best way to present our next phase recommendations to a client. In an attempt to wrap them under a unifying concept, FSG partner, Donna Miller, pointed out, ‘It’s a policy wrapped in a process, wrapped in a strategy. A veritable flexibility “turducken” if you will.’ And, with that, the perfect metaphor for “strategic flexibility” was born. A turducken.”

Global News

Manager demoted after pregnancy awarded €27,800

Charlie Taylor • Irish Times • March 25, 2011

“A WOMAN who was moved from a senior human resources role to a junior telesales role after returning from maternity leave has been awarded €27,800 in compensation. The claimant, who worked for the company’s UK branch since 2001, became pregnant in 2007 and asked to work part-time, but was refused as there were no such positions available.  When she returned in January 2009, she was asked to work in the telesales department with no return to the human resources section expected. […] The claimant went on sick leave for work-related stress shortly after returning to employment and resigned in April 2009.”

Paternity rights … and wrongs

Valeria Criscione • Guardian • March 19, 2011

“Under new additional paternity leave legislation, fathers of children born on or after 3 April 2011 will be able to share the maternity or adoption leave and pay if the mother or adopter returns to work early. […]But to understand how the system might work in practice look no further than the Nordic countries, which have been granting fathers generous parental leave for some time. It is all part of the region’s cradle-to-grave welfare state model, providing family-friendly policies such as affordable public child daycare and lengthy paid leave, so more women can work yet still keep up the birth rate.”